fit tech for kids

Go play outside! Growing up, many of us heard this directive
coming from our parents. Today, kids are more apt to be playing inside
on some sort of tech device. They’re parked in front of a television
or computer engrossed in an exciting video game, or sitting and tapping
away at mobile apps. It’s doubtful many parents try to keep children and
teens active by calling out, “Go play on your laptop!” But should they?

Times change. Could it be that the “Go play outside” model of previous
generations has run its course? Inactivity and obesity are real problems
among today’s youth—a group that is quite technologically literate (when
they have access to tech devices). Anyone who’s seen a 10-year-old with
a tablet knows kids can work their way around such gadgets quite
confidently!

Opinions vary on how far to integrate technology into kids’ fitness, if
at all. Is it possible that technology might help, not
hinder, the fitness industry’s efforts to encourage kids to
move—especially kids who don’t easily identify as “sporty” types? Are
there feasible approaches to meeting children and adolescents where they
are with screen time, instead of eschewing it? Here are some examples of fit tech for kids:

  • active video games/exergaming for home use
  • mobile fitness apps used on a smartphone or tablet
  • wearable activity trackers made especially for kids (e.g., Sqord)
  • on-demand workouts accessible through a computer or mobile app
  • stationary, kid-sized fitness machines with built-in screens and gaming options (e.g., Sport Bike or Skate/Snowboard by Kidzpace Interactive, Inc.)
  • active games or dance routines that use technology-triggers floor or wall pads (often found in gyms, leisure centers, arcades, etc.)

To read more about the pros and cons of integrating technology into children’s exercise programs, please see “Fit Tech for Kids: Boon or Bust?” in the online IDEA Library or in the January 2016 print issue of IDEA Fitness Journal. If you cannot access the full article and would like to, please contact the IDEA Inspired Service Team at (800) 999-4332, ext. 7.